How to “spoil” your ballot if you’ve voted for a candidate who dropped out

You can "spoil your ballot" before Election Day
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 10:21 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The partisan primary election in Wisconsin takes place Tuesday, August 9. Absentee voting started a week ago, but since then, some notable candidates have dropped out of the race, making some of those early ballots invalid.

If that describes you, the state has provisions so those early votes aren’t wasted. It’s called “spoiling” your ballot, and there are several ways to do it.

Absentee voters who want to spoil their ballot that’s already been cast have to request to do so in writing – either by letter or email to their local municipality.

In that case, the first vote wouldn’t count. The voter then has the option to vote again absentee, by mail if there’s time for the ballot to reach the clerk’s office, or wait and re-vote on election day.

“We’ve received numerous calls, especially with the few ballot candidates that have suspended their campaigns. We have voters who may have voted for one of those candidates and now they want to vote for someone else,” said Wausau City Clerk Kaitlyn Bernarde.

However, according to Wisconsin law, an absentee voter can’t spoil their vote on election day and then re-vote in the same election.

Election Day voters have three chances to get their ballot right, but only one will count.

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